xy·​lo·​phone ˈzī-lə-ˌfōn How to pronounce xylophone (audio)
 also  ˈzi-
: a percussion instrument consisting of a series of wooden bars graduated in length to produce the musical scale, supported on belts of straw or felt, and sounded by striking with two small wooden hammers
ˈzī-lə-ˌfō-nist How to pronounce xylophone (audio)
 also  ˈzi-

Illustration of xylophone

Illustration of xylophone

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web Bingo finds a xylophone in a toy box, one with the make-believe ability to freeze people in place. David Allen, New York Times, 25 Aug. 2022 There’s Bubbles, who likes to play the xylophone while Bellissimo is in Zoom meetings. Sarah Sloat, The Atlantic, 15 Dec. 2022 Lili includes four noisy spinners, two gears, a maraca in her tail, a five-bar xylophone on her back, a set of notches for a washboard sound, two clacking saddle blankets and two mallets that store in her head. Rachel Rothman, Good Housekeeping, 5 May 2022 Each hand had three smooth, gold half-orbs on the ring finger made of plastic and encased in gel — omitting a xylophone-like sound when touched in a quick up-down motion — to soothe her stimming. Martine Thompson, Los Angeles Times, 14 Nov. 2022 The Vivienne asked if someone would hand her the xylophone. Joey Nolfi, EW.com, 20 June 2022 With this classic toy, your child can experiment with different sounds by rolling the colorful balls down the xylophone slide or by hitting the keys with the mallet. Rachel Rothman, Good Housekeeping, 5 May 2022 That also reminds me of the whole xylophone thing last week, because some thought maybe that pointed to Jaida and Vivienne having an alliance. Joey Nolfi, EW.com, 20 June 2022 While Komolafe packed the film with plenty of comedy and lighthearted touches like the score’s sparkling xylophone, its plot focuses on a highly sensitive subject: Nicki’s struggle to win validation and support from her mother. Jordaan Sanford, Variety, 19 June 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'xylophone.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History

First Known Use

1866, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of xylophone was in 1866

Dictionary Entries Near xylophone

Cite this Entry

“Xylophone.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/xylophone. Accessed 9 Feb. 2023.

Kids Definition


xy·​lo·​phone ˈzī-lə-ˌfōn How to pronounce xylophone (audio)
: a musical instrument consisting of a series of wooden bars varying in length and sounded by striking with two wooden hammers
xylophonist noun

More from Merriam-Webster on xylophone

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